Moldova's resurgent UEFA EURO 2008™ Group C form continued with a narrow 3-2 victory against bottom side Malta.
Having earned only two points from their opening eight qualifiers, Igor Dobrovolskiy's team have now collected seven from a possible nine. The visitors controlled the first 45 minutes here and could have had more than the three goals they took into break: an Igor Bugaev penalty and two Viorel Frunza strikes. Yet they were made to cling on at the end as the hosts pulled two goals back and hit the woodwork in added time.
Moldova effectively secured the result with three goals inside eleven first-half minutes. They opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Luke Dimech fouled Alexandru Gatcan in the area and Bugaev converted from the spot. Seven minutes later it was 2-0, when Gatcan's mis-hit shot fell kindly for Frunza to tap into an empty net. Frunza grabbed his second and Moldova's third ten minutes before half-time, seizing on a stray pass before chipping into the top-left corner from the edge of the box.
Moldova looked to be cruising to a second successive away victory but they were given a jolt on 71 minutes when substitute Terence Scerri reduced arrears. And six minutes from time Malta struck again, through Michael Mifsud's spot-kick after Andrew Cohen had been brought down, to set up a frenetic finale in which Victor Golovatenco was sent off. Malta laid siege in the Moldova half: George Mallia almost equalised in the last minute but Serghei Pascenco saved, before Jamie Pace thumped a 35-metre effort against the post two minutes into stoppage time.